I rarely make sweeping statements about what we all should and shouldn’t do.
As you can tell from my various styles of printables, I like options, and I don’t believe there’s a one-sized-fits-all solution to many problems. This, however, is one of those exceptions. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that there are 3 things you should never ever buy.
Things you don’t love
Let’s be honest, if you don’t love it in the store, you’re not going to love it when you’re away from the beautiful lighting and the rush of getting something new is gone.
Stores are built to lure us into spending money. Businesses spend millions figuring out how best to arrange their stores and products, the best music to play, and how to create the most appealing lighting so everything in the environment makes us want to spend money and take items home. So if, despite all of that working against you, you still aren’t totally head over heels for whatever you’re thinking about buying, that’s a great sign that you shouldn’t waste your money.
I can’t even keep track of the number of times I’ve allowed myself to purchase something I only kind of liked and regretted buying almost as soon as I got home. Of course, you can always return them, but I know myself, and the chances of that are pretty slim. These items usually end up cluttering our lives because we feel obligated to try to get some use out of them. Save yourself the heartache and the money, and just walk away.
Things you don’t need
I’ve really been working to get away from buying frivolous things. My home is already filled with things I bought with the best of intentions that have ended up just sitting around gathering dust.
Growing up, my mom had a “gift closet.” She would buy items she didn’t need but seemed like a great bargain and store them, planning to give them to someone down the road. Unfortunately, when gift giving occasions came around she’d usually either forget about the gift closet or have something special in mind for the recipient instead.
There comes a point when we just have to accept that there will always be good deals out there, but that doesn’t mean we have to look for or take advantage of them every time we see them. If you don’t need it or know exactly what you’ll do with it, don’t buy it!
Things you already have
Duplicates. Don’t buy duplicates. If you already have it, it’s in good shape, and your new item wouldn’t be a drastic improvement over what you already have, please save your money.
I’m guilty of having a lot of duplicates. When I organized my utensil drawer, I had three pairs of kitchen shears. Did having more than one sometimes come in handy? Of course! But to tell you the truth, two of the three pairs were a nightmare to use. I really only liked one pair so why was I keeping all three?
Keeping things “just in case” is a waste of space, time, and energy. Yes, one day, in the probably distant future, my kitchen shears may break, and I may have to buy more, but in the meantime I’ll have more space and less to take care.
I eventually got rid of the two extra shears and a really nice chef’s knife because I already had one. I’m not going to lie, the hoarder is me is a little sad about that knife now that I’m thinking about it, but I already have a great knife, and I don’t need two. I really don’t, and chances are you don’t need the duplicates you’re keeping either.
If you aren’t ready to get rid of your duplicates right now give a trial separation a try. Box up your least favorite duplicates and put them in a box in an out of the way place. Try living without them for a month or two and see how it goes. Chances are you’ll see that you really don’t need those items, and you can take your box of already packed up items to a donation center.
**Update: Shari made an excellent suggestion in the comments, and I wanted to make sure you all saw it too. She said, “Make a list of what is in the box, place it in an envelope, and tape it to the outside of the box. This way when it’s time to donate this box, because you haven’t needed anything in it, you don’t have to open it up and second guess your choices. To me it’s just easier, I staple the list to my donation receipt and my list for tax time is ready to go.”
Ultimately, in order to win the fight against clutter, every item in our home should serve a purpose and have it’s own place. Sometimes that purpose is to be decorative or to remind us of something, sometimes it’s utilitarian, but if we don’t love it, need it, or already have it, we should avoid buying it.
What’s the hardest thing for you to avoid buying? (Mine’s probably decorative items like pillows or cute things for the holidays.)
For other Decluttering posts, check out: